The Structure of Labor Costs with Overtime Work in U.S. Jobs
The author analyzes employment contract and labor demand models of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime pay regulation to determine their effects on employers’ labor costs. Using National Compensation Survey (NCS) data to obtain a representative sample of U.S. private-industry jobs, he assesses each model’s ability to predict either the adjustment of wage rates if overtime is warranted (the employment contract model) or the probability of using overtime to meet labor demands (labor demand model). Using quasi-fixed employment costs as independent variables allows for a better accounting of labor demand. He finds that lower wages go hand-in-hand with jobs requiring more overtime work, which indicates that overtime pay regulation influences the structure of compensation.